Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


Setback in the War on Terror?

The US Department of Justice has admitted it really screwed up the prosecution of three Moroccan immigrants — Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, Karim Koubriti and Ahmed Hannan — who allegedly comprised a so-called sleeper cell in Detroit. The DOJ has asked a judge to overturn their 2003 convictions. The Christian Science Monitor has a good summary article with lots of links. Two of them were arrested a mere six days after 9/11 when FBI agents searched their apartment while looking for the previous occupant. At the time a year ago when they were convicted by a jury, John Ashcroft heralded this as "as a clear message that the United States would work diligently to disrupt and dismantle terrorist 'sleeper cells' at home and abroad."

While the trial was in progress, Ashcroft was also severely admonished by the judge for a "distressing lack of care" in the public pronouncements he was making.

I heard elsewhere that the prosecutor faces possible punishment of some kind as well.

The department investigated defense charges that assistant U.S. attorneys withheld and misrepresented evidence, and indeed found evidence of prosecutorial misconduct fatal to the case.

Photos and drawings found in the pair's apartment did not represent what the prosecution said they did. A key witness turned out to be a known jailhouse liar. A videotape of alleged terrorist targets may well have been an ordinary vacation video. Potentially exculpatory evidence by an ex-CIA agent was withheld from the defense.

So says the Cincinnati Post in an editorial. It must have been really, really bad. The Post concludes it a case of "maybe just a couple of grifters supplying bogus documents to illegal immigrants." Even if it was much more than that, although I'm sorry if some real terrorists went free, in the long run we have more to fear from misbehaving government prosecutors than we do from extreme jihadis. But then, maybe that's just me.

Added the 2nd sentence in the 1st paragraph. Without it, one had to read the CSM link in order to make sense of the post. [Thanks, Glenn!]

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